I remember a time when I was a new hire in an airline in Singapore; I heard many other new recruits throwing out terms like Base Training, Base Check, Line Training and Line Check, and yet I didn’t understand what each of these phrases meant.
And when I tried asking these fellow new hires what these terms meant exactly, I was unable got get a reasonable explanation. It might be because they too didn’t fully understand these terms? So, after going through many of these sessions, and finally finding out where the definitions are written in my airline, I decided to write a short article, explaining what each of these is, so hopefully, future new airline pilots will be able to sound smarter in conversations.
In Singapore, base training is always done in a real aircraft. Base Training is a sortie where new type rated pilots take out a real Commercial Aircraft (without passengers of course), with minimal crew, to an airfield (generally Batam WIDD or Senai Johor WMKJ), for circuits training.
Take-offs, touch and goes, go-arounds and landings are practised in this sortie.
As base training is probably the most dangerous sortie an airline undertakes, before actually going for a Base Training sortie, many airlines in Singapore will put the trainees in a Base Training Sim, which fully rehearses the trainees on the sortie profile in the sim.
In Singapore, Base Checks are always done in the Simulators. The focus of this session is to train and evaluate pilots in emergency handling, in line with company procedures and the good aircraft handling, all the way to a logical conclusion, such as a landing.
Emergencies that are tested are as follows:
- Rejected take off
- Instrument failures
- Flaps and or slats failures
In Singapore, every pilot will have to undergo a Base Check after the completion of a type rating course and after that at least twice a year. Base Checks are sessions where the weakest pilots are identified and depending on the prevailing policies of an airline, either mentored till they are of acceptable standard or if mentoring doesn’t work, termination of a pilot.
The sortie profile for Airlines in Singapore is governed by CAAS. You should be able to find the sortie profile in your airline Flight Training Guides.
Line training is a series of flights, usually revenue flights with passengers, where a new pilot is flown with a Line Instructor Pilot.
Before commencing Line Training, pilots are required to pass an Initial Line Check simulator sortie, where the pilot is put through a realistic scenario of a gate to gate operations.
Also, many airlines require the first few sectors flown by new pilots to be planned with a safety pilot in the jump seat. At anytime these new pilots become dangerous, the safety pilot would be ready to jump in and take over.
At the end of the line training, a Line Instructor Pilot will conclude line training with a Line Check.
A Line Check is a flight where a Line Instructor Pilot or an Authorised Flight Examiner observes a pilot executing a normal revenue flight on the line. This Instructor Pilot or Examiner can be the co-pilot in the flight, i.e. not necessary a non-flying observer in the flight.
The checker is observing and evaluating the pilot from flight preparation, flight briefing, ground operations, take-off to landings, taxi to gate and debriefs.
A line check is almost always done in a regular line revenue flights and is usually done once every 12 months.